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Waterside Workers Federation, History of the Sydney Branch 1959 - 1963

Date: 1963
Dimensions:
Overall: 540 x 795 mm, 3.26 kg
Medium: Ink on paper, newspaper clipping, glass, wood
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from the Maritime Union of Australia
Classification:Ephemera
Object Name: Poster
Object No: 00032114
Place Manufactured:Sydney

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    Description
    A handwritten and decorated panel recording the history of the Waterside Workers' Federation, History of the Sydney branch 1959 - 1963.
    One of 16 framed charts recording the history of the New South Wales branch of the Waterside Workers Federation from 1899 to 1993.
    SignificanceThe charts are significant in recording details of branch membership, branch officials and industrial and political campaigns. They were the first collated record of the union's history and are a valuable record of the philosophy
    of the union in the post-war period. The charts end their account of the Waterside Workers Federation in 1993 because that is the year in which it amalgamated with the Seamen's Union of Australia to form the Maritime Union of Australia.
    HistoryThe charts are significant in recording a history of the NSW Branch of the Waterside Workers Federation. They include details of branch membership, officials as well as industrial and political campaigns. They are a strong record of the philosophy of the in the post war period.

    The first four charts were produced in 1955. The text was written by Tom Nelson
    and Ina Heidtman.Tom Nelson was Branch Secretary from 1948 until 1973.
    Ina Heidtman was office manager from 1950 to 1996. The illustrations around the text were drawn by Sonny Glynn who was a waterside worker. Sonny Glynn contributed to the Wharfies Mural and other artworks in the Museum's collection.

    Those first panels were used to train job delegates in the history of the union. At that time they were the only collated record of the union's history. One of Ina's qualifications for the job was her youth. The union's minute books and
    archives were stored in a basement which was only accessible by ladder and Ina was given the job of going through the records because she would be best able to climb down the ladder.

    The remaining 12 charts were produced by Ina Heidtman. Ina kept a diary of major events for the branch and collected newspaper clippings and photographs. Up until Tom Nelson's retirement in 1973 Ina would write the text and Tom Nelson would check it. After 1973 Ina produced the charts on her own. The charts were exhibited in the branch's offices at 60 Sussex Street, 65 Sussex Street and 365 Sussex Street.

    Ina sees the history charts as important because they enabled union members to check events and statistics quickly. She remembers that union members would ring the office to check a question after having a discussion about the union's history. Tom Nelson and Ina Heidtman were both great lovers of the union's history and their main
    incentive in producing the panels was that they enjoyed it.
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